• How free traders are working with Big Ag to make “Frankenfoods” a dietary staple.
By James Spounias —
The good news is that 5,544 pages of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement were released to the public on November 5 . The bad news is how the TPP will further impact the safety and quality of American food.
TPP is a trade agreement that purportedly promotes “free trade,” but in fact protects specific corporate interests in unprecedented ways and may well be the final nail in the coffin of American sovereignty.
Establishment cheerleaders for the TPP gloat that it will likely be adopted in a year or so.
It’s not as if health-seeking Americans have had an easy time of getting “clean” foods over the past several decades. Since WWII, American agriculture has been captive to large corporate interests, chemical companies, and governmental subsidies, which have put profits before true quality.
Curiously, many of the same folks who brought us weapons of mass destruction found a “market” in food and drugs with the advent of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.
Propagandists extolled chemical-based food production, claiming that without it, we’d all starve to death. But purists argued that organic yields bested conventional agriculture in production and quality, which has been established by a study conducted by the Rodale Institute initiated in 1981.
Ironically, herbicide makers promoted the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on food stocks based on the theory that fewer herbicides would be needed when foods are genetically engineered to resist pests and weeds. This, too, has proven folly because studies show GMO foods require more herbicides than non-GMO crops.
American government and “big agriculture” have made a cozy bed, so much so that the revolving door between government and industry swings fast and often. What many don’t realize is that laws and regulations are written by the corporations, which the government is charged to “regulate,” and the enforcers come from the very industry they are supposed to regulate.
This incestuous relationship is particularly palpable in the case of GMOs.
Attorney Steven M. Druker, author of the book Altered Genes, Twisted Truth, summarized the revolving door relationship regarding the creation of an agency devoted to “regulate” GMOs:
The FDA’s acknowledged policy “to foster” the U.S. biotechnology industry is part of a broader executive policy that was initiated by the Reagan-Bush administration—and has continued through each successive administration, including Clinton-Gore and Obama-Biden. Further, when in 1991 the FDA created a new position of deputy commissioner for policy to supervise the formulation of its policy on [GMO] foods, it appointed Michael Taylor, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who had been representing Monsanto and other members of the biotech industry on food regulatory issues. During Mr. Taylor’s tenure as deputy commissioner, references to the potential unintended negative effects of bioengineering were progressively deleted from drafts of the policy statement (over the protests of agency scientists), and the final statement was issued claiming (a) that [GMO] foods are no riskier than others and (b) that the agency has no information to the contrary. (Subsequently, Mr. Taylor was hired by Monsanto as vice president for public policy.) Moreover, when Vice President Dan Quayle introduced the FDA’s policy statement in 1992, he referred to it as “regulatory relief” for the industry.
Talk about the fox guarding the hen house.
Remember President Reagan’s declaration that the Soviet Union was an “evil empire”?
How ironic is it that in the United States, GMO technology gained ground under The Gipper’s watch, which now leaves Americans captive to Frankenfoods while Russia, the surviving powerhouse of the failed USSR, has flatly banned GMOs?
Likening Americans to guinea pigs, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in 2014: “If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat them then. We don’t need to do that. We have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food.”
As difficult as it may be to believe, the TPP may make it worse. Under the agreement, the powers-that-be may be able to scuttle the pretense of conducting safety studies and reviews by appointed scientific panels.
Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch’s executive director, said: “The TPP is a giveaway to big agribusiness and food companies that want to use trade deals to attack sensible food safety rules, weaken the inspection of imported food, and block efforts to strengthen U.S. food safety standards.”
Hauter continued: “The TPP will increase the volume of imported and potentially risky foods coming into the United States, but tie the hands of the border inspectors who are the last line of defense between the shipper and the supermarket. . . . The TPP gives companies new powers to second guess inspectors and push uninspected food onto the market.”
There is a growing movement in the U.S. to require mandatory labeling of GMOs, and the TPP may interfere with what many believe is a basic right—that is, to know what’s in our food.
The TPP rewarded the biotechnology industry because this is the first trade agreement to provide specific biotech protections, according to the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Department of Agriculture. A serious concern about the TPP is that agribusiness and biotech seed companies can now more easily use trade rules to challenge countries that ban GMO imports, test for GMO contamination, delay the approval of new GMO crops or even require GMO labeling.
Hauter explained: “The TPP gives the food industry a powerful new weapon to wield against the nationwide movement to label GMO foods.”
If the TPP passes, there may be no way for Americans to demand to know the origin of foods, let alone whether they are derived from GMOs. Free speech on the Internet may become a thing of the past because it’s alleged that sites may be blocked from telling the truth about products and technologies. It’s unclear how far the reach will expand to the non-controlled press.
Legitimate regulation will go the way of the Gallic shrug when powerful corporations complain against their adversaries or attempt to push unsafe foods on an unsuspecting public.
However, one can be assured that raw milk dairy and organic, non-GMO and other artisanal food suppliers will be harassed at best and driven out of business at worst by regulators equipped with star chamber-like power.
James Spounias is the president of Carotec Inc., originally founded by renowned radio show host and alternative health expert Tom Valentine and his wife, Carole. To receive a free issue of Carotec Health Report—a monthly newsletter loaded with well-researched and reliable alternative health information—please write Carotec, P.O. Box 9919, Naples, FL 34101 or call 1-800-522-4279. Also included will be a list of the high-quality health supplements Carotec recommends.